Thursday, October 2, 2008

Steve Fossett

Symptom #128 indicating a lack of motivation to study: Today I learned all about Steve Fossett. I don't know if any of you have heard of him, but the little bit ("all about him" is a vast overstatement) that I know is incredible.

I'll just paste the tidbits that ESPN offered first:
Fossett was an accomplished balloonist, pilot and outdoorsman. Among the things he did:

• September 1985: Swims the English Channel from France to England in 22 hours, 15 minutes.

• March 1992: Finishes the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska, covering the 1,165 miles in 14 days, 11 hours, 58 minutes and 18 seconds (47th-place).

• February 1995: Sets the world distance ballooning record with a nonstop flight of 5,435.82 miles from South Korea to Canada. It was the first solo balloon flight across the Pacific.

• June 18-July 2, 2002: Becomes first person to circumnavigate the globe in a balloon, taking off from Australia, and crossing the finish line 13 days, 12 hours, 16 minutes and 13 seconds later, covering an estimated 19,428.6 miles. Made five previous attempts between 1996 and 2001, including an August 1998 attempt in which he went 14,235 miles in eight days and 13 hours before crashing in the Coral Sea.

• April 2004: With crew of 12, breaks the round-the-world sailing record by six days (58 days, nine hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds).

• March 2005: Becomes the first person to fly a plane solo around the world without stopping or refueling, covering 23,000 miles in 67 hours.

• February 2006: Completes the longest nonstop plane flight in aviation history, flying 26,389 miles in about 76 hours.

• August 2006: With a co-pilot, claims a world glider altitude record of 50,671 feet during a flight over the Andes Mountains.

Think about the amount of worldly knowledge he would have to have in order to accomplish these things. A vast knowledge of geography, survival, mechanics, aviation, and boating, and that probably just scratches the surface. There are people who get lost trying to find a bank near their house. But Fossett circumnavigated the entire globe in a balloon. He completed the Iditarod (longest dog-sled race in the world). Sailed around the world in record time.

I'm astounded and envious at such accomplishments. Just thought I'd share.

The reason he is in the news is much more unfortunate. He went missing in early September after taking off in his plane from Barron Hilton's house. He was not heard from again. A hiker found some cash and a few IDs belonging to Fossett in the woods. Shortly after, the wreckage of his plane was found crashed in to the side of a mountain. It's a shame the world has to lose someone with such genius, who was able to channel his talents in to something that truly made him happy.

Fortunately, he died doing what he loved. I think a person couldn't ask for much more.

No comments: